There is a relatively new trend in skin treatments that has celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, and Kim Kardashian (to name a few) looking like Pin head from the Hellraiser horror series. Only in this case, this pincushion look is, in fact, a facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatment aimed to make your skin look like your favourite celebrity.
Did you just glaze over that statement and suddenly hear a DJ scratch upon reading "acupuncture" and "facial" used in the same sentence? Yup, that was my initial reaction too. However, cosmetic acupuncture is in fact, not even a new trend at all. The practice has been around for centuries. So why are we only hearing about it now?
Maybe it's because some of our favourite celebrities started touting needles in their faces on their Instagram pages fairly recently.
Before anything else, what is acupuncture and how does it actually work?
Acupuncture – you've most definitely heard about it. We're talking about the ancient Chinese practice of having needles placed in strategic places around the body to relieve pain or stress. The practice traces their origin to about 2,000 years age and is supposedly able to bring balance in the flow of your energy or life force. Traditional Chinese Medicine claims that the body is simply a balance of your yin, yang and life force. This energy or life force is otherwise known as chi or qi (pronounced as 'chee'). Any imbalance in those forces is believed to result in what our body translates as discomfort or pain.
The aim of acupuncture is to rebalance your energy to boost your wellbeing. Acupuncture has been used to treat migraines, relieve headaches, decrease anxiety, increase fertility, ease tooth and back pain, relieve sinus congestions, and aid weight loss.
During the treatment, needles are typically placed along what acupuncturists call vortex points or acupuncture points, which run along energy lines that act as pathways between energy points called meridians. When done by a professional acupuncturist, the insertion of fine needles in specific points along the meridian energy lines, stimulates the muscles, nerves, and connective tissues. So imagine this: every time a needle is inserted into an acupuncture point, the area is stimulated to increase blood flow and cell regeneration.
Cosmetic acupuncture, facial rejuvenation acupuncture, or facial acupuncture uses the same traditional practice to activate energy points in the face. You're probably sitting there thinking,
"But how can needles inserted into your face help rejuvenate your skin?"
Each needle that is applied to your face will cause a positive micro-trauma in your skin. This positive trauma sends signals for your skin to increase the blood flow to the affected areas and naturally produce collagen. The increase in blood and oxygen to your face will not only help your skin repair itself, but many patients have found the treatment to be incredibly relaxing! I know... it sounds like absolute magical mumbo-jumbo, but by increasing blood flow to certain areas through acupuncture, the skin appears to look more youthful, radiant, and toned.
Apparently, the Chinese cracked the code thousands of years ago, that beauty really does start from within! They had created an acupuncture face lift before plastic surgery even existed. It is said that acupuncture was used on the Empress, the Emperor's concubines, and the royal court. While acupuncture is not considered a text book science (it's categorised as a pseudoscience), it's longevity is testament to its success.
Worried about needles?
First of all, don't imagine acupuncture needles to be the same size as the needles you use for sewing–nor are they even the same size as hypodermic needles you've probably encountered at the doctor's office. They are about as fine as a single strand of hair. So it is not big at all!
Needles used for acupuncture are sterilised and are absolutely single-use and disposable. Reputable practitioners never reused needles on other patients.
How many needles do they use during the treatment?
An acupuncturist typically uses 40–70 needles on the face. However, the exact amount of needles needed for the procedure depends on each patient's needs. Needles are placed along facial acupressure points to target specific areas of need. For patients with more wrinkles, acne, or other problems; expect to have more needles.
How long does a session go for?
Typically, a session will last about 45 to 90 minutes however; each clinic has its own packages that not only include facial acupuncture but a full body treatment too.
Must I have a full body acupuncture session or can I just have it done on my face?
Although there are clinics that solely do facial acupuncture, plenty of practitioners encourage a full treatment starting from the body and then the face. Professional acupuncturists claim that this is mainly because the procedure is redirecting energy to affected parts. If only the face is treated, there will be too much concentrated energy in one area. Not only that, body acupuncture treatment aids in the effects of your overall appearance. Remember it's all about the balance of your energy flow!
When do you start to see results?
Clinics claim cosmetic acupuncture or 'face acupuncture' benefits can be seen after 10 - 12 sessions. However, patients have claimed to see improvement in their skin as soon as a week or two after their first session.
How long do results last?
Results may last years with regular maintenance treatments. Maintenance treatments are recommended to be done every 4 to 8 weeks for the best results.
What are the benefits of cosmetic acupuncture?
There seems to be a whole shopping list of benefits from cosmetic acupuncture, which says a lot about this treatment!
Check out these Before and After Photos below
Cosmetic acupuncture is perfect for ageing skin. Since those micro-traumas help your skin produce collagen and elastin, skin will look more filled out and youthful. Bid goodbye to fine lines and watch deepened wrinkles soften.
Acupuncture is said to minimize the appearance of sagging skin, which will come in handy for those pesky jowls! However, let's not forget that nothing ages a person more than puffiness and darkness in the under eye region but this treatment aids in diminishing and brightening those problems too.
In terms of your skin, your complexion is said to appear more hydrated and radiant as it is moisturized from within. Patients can expect improved skin texture and colour that your skin will look as if you've mastered that no-makeup makeup look.
Troubled with acne? Is facial acupuncture for acne a thing? Yes, cosmetic acupuncture might be the answer you've been looking for. The treatment is said to reduce or eliminate acne, scarring caused by acne, and possibly affect hormonal imbalances that cause acne.
It has become an absolute game-changer as a natural alternative to invasive procedures in terms of anti-ageing treatments. Acupuncture for wrinkles seems an awful lot less invasive than Botox or fillers.
Why cosmetic acupuncture?
For people who fear invasive procedures, long downtimes from surgery, cosmetic acupuncture is the best safe option for you. There will be no downtime from recovery, no bandages, no swelling, and best of all no expensive stints at the hospital. Results from cosmetic acupuncture seem more gradual and natural so you can relax knowing you won't look like you're suddenly made of plastic.
Where do you get it done and what does it cost?
Here are a few clinics we've found to give you an idea of what packages and price points there are:
$ 98 for consultations and skin assessments without acupuncture treatment
$ 180 for consultation and skin assessment, facial acupuncture treatment, body acupuncture treatment for a total of 75 minutes
$ 130 for return consultations, facial acupuncture treatment, and body acupuncture treatment for a total of 45 minutes
Pros: The packages include body acupuncture too!
$ 150 for consultation and cosmetic acupuncture treatment
$ 160 for cosmetic facial rejuvenation package for a 90-minute treatment
$ 10 additional for initial consultations